Final Saturday of the Winter Competition saw Duff Kelly present the Bernard Fettes cup to Brian Thomas

A series of 50m (55 yard) sprints spread over seven Saturdays, the Winter Competition is a test of commitment, perseverance and sharp elbows

The winner on points was Brian Thomas, followed by Ilyan Kovatchev, Stuart Bowman, Mary Olivari, John Tierney and Sakura Adams.

Brian previously won the competition in 1987....  "if I have to wait another 34 years before claiming it again I will be 100!"

The Dani Lobo award for the "most competitive swimmer" went to Will Luckhurst.

Series winner, Brian Thomas

Series winner, Brian Thomas

Saturday 18 December saw the end of the Winter Competition, with members of the Kelly family on hand to present the Bernard Fettes cup to long term member Brian Thomas.  

The cup has been presented at the end of the Winter Competition since 1958, in memory of Bernard Fettes.  The Winter series of the Serpentine Swimming Club span many generations and harks back to the early years of the club in the 19th century.  Since the mid-1970s the series has been sponsored by the Kelly family.  American artist Francis Bob Kelly was club President 1983 to 1986.  Present this morning were Bob's sons Duff and Jesse and grandson Cameron.  Sean, Bob's oldest son and Cameron's dad, was on his travels in the USA (Texas, then Ohio) so missed the chill of an early winter Serpentine morning.

Bernard Fettes swam with the club for many years up to the late 1950s.  Alan Lacy recalled that Bernard was a dentist who would arrive at the Serpentine in his pride and joy: his Jaguar motor car.  Some recent research by Mike Harris showed Bernard Fettes to have served in the Army's Machine Gun Corps during WW1.

Also in the prizes were Ilyan Kovatchev, Stuart Bowman, Mary Olivari, John Tierney and Sakura Adams

Also in the prizes were Ilyan Kovatchev, Stuart Bowman, Mary Olivari, John Tierney and Sakura Adams

Ilyan

Stuart

The effortlessly elegant Mary

John

Sakura (plus mini Adamses)

Though 6th in the series, Sakura won the get out, get dry, get warm postscript to her heat on Saturday

Though 6th in the series, Sakura won the get out, get dry, get warm postscript to her heat on Saturday

The Dani Lobo award for the most competitive swimmer of 2021 went to Will Luckhurst

The Dani Lobo award for the most competitive swimmer of 2021 went to Will Luckhurst

Handicapper Dani's prize was awarded to Will, who consistently strived in every race he entered and posted a host of PBs

1987 cup presentation

1987 cup presentation

Brian won the cup in 1987, after 20 years of trying. Prizes were presented on the Saturday (19th), with the cup presented on Christmas morning the following Friday.

1967, last Saturday of the Winter Competition. It was another twenty years before Brian had his hands on the cup.

1967, last Saturday of the Winter Competition.  It was another twenty years before Brian had his hands on the cup.

We made the Sunday papers

1907 presentation

1907 presentation

Our Winter Competition is a long standing feature of our fixture list, dating back to the club's early years

1930, Louis Fabre (who still swam with us until the early 1970s) receiving the Winter Competition 1st prize from Gilbert Varley

1930, Louis Fabre (who still swam with us until the early 1970s) receiving the Winter Competition 1st prize from Gilbert Varley

Hyde Park welcomed Hawaii, 1972

Hyde Park welcomed Hawaii, 1972

Sons Duff, Sean and Jess with Bob, 1972. The Hawaiian shirts were made by Bob's brother. Such shirts became a regular feature of Serpentine Saturdays throughout the many decades of the Kelly's membership

A tribute to Bob and the Kellys

A tribute to Bob and the Kellys

George Cselko and Matthew Johnson came suitably attired

Bob Kelly joined the club in 1970 -  living in Bayswater he saw Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park as "his own back yard".  Bob was club president from 1983 to 1986.  Bob led the "save our Serps" campaign in the early 80s when the future of the Lido and of the club was seriously threatened by government budget cutbacks.  He was also instrumental in ensuring women were allowed to join the club as "full members", "associate member" status having been introduced in 1973.

For further background on the history of the Winter Competition and the Kelly family's involvement click here to see the "race we missed" report from 2020 .....

http://serpentineswimmingclub.com/news/51075/2020-winter-series

And finally, apologies for referring to myself in the third person throughout this report.  I am not trying to ape Donald Trump, I just wasn't inventive enough to get round the necessity.